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Brawn: F1 has made step from “horrible” previous cars

Formula 1 managing director Ross Brawn sees “no negatives” around the new 2022 rules that he says has moved grand prix racing on from the “horrible” previous cars.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18, George Russell, Mercedes W13, the rest. of the field at the start

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari F1-75, Max Verstappen, Red Bull Racing RB18, Sergio Perez, Red Bull Racing RB18, George Russell, Mercedes W13, the rest. of the field at the start

Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Sunday’s race featured plenty of action through the field, including a thrilling battle at the front as Max Verstappen made a series of ultimately unsuccessful attempts to take the lead from Ferrari's Charles Leclerc before brake issues dropped him back.

Reflecting on the dawn of F1's new era, Brawn cautioned that Sakhir was only the first event with the new cars, and stressed that the FIA will now make a proper analysis to see exactly how following and overtaking have been improved by the new aerodynamic package.

“It is a sample based on one, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” said Brawn, when asked by Autosport if the regulations had achieved the desired goals. “But we have seen no negatives today, which is a great thing.

“I think now once the drivers have debriefed and the FIA start to look at all the data we can see how we have been able to move.

“But the old cars were horrible, so we have been able to make that step. I think we have shown that the raceability of the car has to be a strong consideration going forward.

“It is not just one solution, and we are going to stop. We need to keep this process up and we need to keep working and understanding how we make great racing cars and continue the development in that direction.”

Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motorsports, FOM

Ross Brawn, Managing Director of Motorsports, FOM

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The engineers who helped to design the new package on behalf of the F1 organisation have now moved to the FIA technical department. That means they now have direct access to data from teams that can be properly analysed.

“I think we will digest all the data and all the information and we will get the feedback from the teams and the drivers,” said Brawn.

“I have always said that this is a process and this is not a one-stop solution, so we need to continue the process.

“The team that have designed this car have now moved to the FIA so that team legitimately has access to all the car data. They can look at all the car data and see what needs to be improved and how we move forward.

“If we can keep this process up and if we can add raceability to the priorities of new cars in the future, then I think it is very much the right move.”

Brawn is not concerned about the big spread across the field, with the top teams still having their traditional clear advantage.

“Obviously new regulations, it looks to me like two or three teams have not got it right. But it wasn’t that bad. As always if we can get two or three teams at the front racing hard, a strong midfield, then I think we should be pleased. And if those cars can race, that’s the key thing.

“You can’t forget the impact the cost cap is going to have, because no-one out there at the minute is going to be able to put another $100 million into their programme to solve their problems.

“So that is going to have a flatter development rate, so nobody is going to pull away. I think a lot of things have come together so we can look forward to having a great year.”

Mohammed bin Sulayem, President, FIA, Stefano Domenicali, Chairman, Formula 1

Mohammed bin Sulayem, President, FIA, Stefano Domenicali, Chairman, Formula 1

Photo by: Steven Tee / Motorsport Images

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali said that a mix of tyre strategies had added to the spectacle in Bahrain.

“First of all that we shouldn’t underestimate the work Pirelli has done, because as you know tyres have been under a big spotlight,” said the Italian.

“I think a different typology that gave another element to the show with different pit stop strategies, some did it right, some did it wrong, that is part of the game, and this is great.

“On the other hand we have seen so many overtakes that I couldn’t count, which is creating something for the public.

“As Ross said we need go step-by-step but the first signals are very encouraging. We need to make sure everyone involved is doing the right job.

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“The other thing I can say from what we have seen is that there has been a great fight on the track, and it was correct by all the drivers. This is a good sign for the first race, and let’s hope it continues for the next one.”

Domenicali also made it clear that Ferrari’s early success will be a big boost for next month’s Emilia Romagna GP.

“There is no doubt to see Ferrari being competitive is very good for everyone, so I’m sure this will have an impact on the number of tickets that the promoter will sell, and I’m expecting a big crowd at Imola like the old days," he added.

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